A Logistics Revolution?

U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official beginning of America’s holiday shopping season and with it comes what we in supply chain management refer to as reverse logistics – better known as returns!

Based on data from the U.S. Commerce Department, online sales represent 11% of 2016 retail sales and are expected to increase by 20% more over the next 5 years.  Exacerbated by the increase in online demand, order fulfillment centers are being forced to rethink their ‘efulfillment’ procedures – how to meet online consumer demand as well as how they handle reverse logistics / returns, reports Supply Chain Digest.  Retail chains Macy’s and JC Penny reportedly both had ‘major store closures’ during 2016 due to merchandise handling issues.

One FedEx representative, Jonathan Radar says, “Ecommerce is standing [the Logistics] industry on its ear” due to high consumer expectations – “I want it here, I want it there, and I want it now.”  Voxware, a service provider of cloud based solutions for distribution operators, conducted a survey supporting this statement.  Voxware’s president Keith Phillips claims their survey revealed “online shoppers, especially during the four days surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, place the same if not higher demands on distribution operations for fast and accurate delivery as during any other time of the holiday season.”

Large fulfillment companies are challenged to meet this demand.  “There is the emerging trend of small urban warehouses,” says Radar, “developed to speed local deliveries now often made in just a matter of hours.”  The returns issue and how to handle it though remains ever evolving.  (Related article: “Return to Sender” – What’s Your Policy?).

Smaller third party logistics partners (3PL) like UCanTrade, Inc. can bridge the gap between etailer and consumer by providing the hands-on attention to detail required to insure order accuracy and timely deliveries while also handling returns, repairs, or re-stocking issues.  (Related Article: Six Eyes On Every Box). They’re better equipped to fulfill the order supply chain ‘from the consumer back’.

Learn more about UCanTrade, Inc.’s U.S.A. Business and Logistics Services – visit our Website, subscribe to our Newsletter for latest trade news and events and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source Article Links: Early Shoppers have higher fulfillment expectations and MHI Conference Panel Recap – Focus on Supply Chain and Consumer)

 

In Praise of the Lowly Pallet

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to a recent article in Inbound Logistics magazine, “Some 80 percent of all U.S. commerce is carried on pallets, making them an indispensable part of nearly every supply chain.” They estimate there are over 2 billion pallets circulating around the United States of all sizes and makeup. The most common standard size of 40-inch by 48-inch is set by the grocery industry, but many other sizes are also used.

Many newer businesses using our third-party logistics services are not aware of the most common ramifications, including (1) fumigation requirements when receiving wood pallets from offshore, (2) the “art” of stacking wrapping and banding a pallet so it will withstand frequent handling and cross-docking along its journey, (3) the cost of pallets and shipping materials needed to properly palletize an outbound shipment, and (4) the issue of dealing with grossly oversize, cheaply stacked and non-reusable incoming pallets from suppliers trying to minimize their cost. As usual, pre-planning and consultation with experts is always a good idea.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Article Link: Inbound Logistics

Direct Access to Your US Market

The Bellingham International airport (BLI) is located in Whatcom County (map) and borders the Lower-Mainland / Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. With four motor vehicle ports of entry into Blaine, WA and Blaine’s close proximity (20 miles or 32 kilometers) to the airport, BLI offers multiple advantages to the BC business traveler.

From most B.C. locations like White Rock, Delta, Surrey, South Surrey, Langley, Aldergrove or Abbotsford, BLI is less than an hour drive away. That travel time is expedited when traffic at the border crossing is light &/or you use a Nexus card (more information about border times and Nexus can be found at UCanTrade.com).

In fact, border wait times are down. There has been a 10% decline in motor vehicle traffic at the Pacific border crossings to date this year compared to the same period in 2015, reports Dave Gallagher of the Bellingham Herald, the weakened Canadian dollar primarily to blame. “When the loonie was nearly at par with the U.S. dollar a few years ago,” reports Gallagher, “it was estimated that more than half of the [airport] passengers were Canadian.”

Even with current exchange rates, travel through BLI still continues to offer “executives and personnel from B.C. companies who conduct their business through Whatcom County … low cost business travel [options] to their U.S. market,” says Jim Pettinger, president of UCanTrade, Inc. Direct flights offered by regional airlines to major cities within U.S. states like Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and California save B.C. business travelers both time and money.

Bellingham International Airport

We welcome visitors! If you are planning a trip to your U.S. market via Bellingham International airport, please consider stopping by UCanTrade, Inc. for a visit! Our 25,000 square foot warehouse is conveniently located just off Interstate 5 between Blaine and Bellingham, at Exit 260, Slater Rd. We’re right on the way and would love to give you a tour.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Read more from the Bellingham Herald HERE

‘The Beat Goes On’

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

sonnyandcherRecent reports about the continuing slow Canadian economy and increased consumer optimism in the United States lead to one simple conclusion – the beat still goes on for Canadian exporters and traders wishing to earn extra valuable greenbacks. With the U.S. Christmas selling season now starting on Labor Day, there is no time to waste. According to www.xmasclock.com you have roughly 100 days to still cash in. (Sonny and Cher – The Beat Goes On – circa 1967)

Link: Canada Economic Forecast
Link: US consumer confidence in August highest in 11 months
Link: U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Jumps To Post-Recession High

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Optimize For Customers. Optimize Your Business.

So much more than business analysis or software upgrades, optimizing your business means taking a global approach to reviewing the processes required to satisfy your customers’ needs.

By definition, to optimize, is to make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource).  “It is not something only for the big companies,” says Casian Glavce, General Manager at Hewitt Material Handling, “if you do not optimize, you’re not going to be in business.”  This is particularly true for small and medium exporters where the supply chain process is very involved and oversights can cripple a business.

Packaging optimization for example, which is often overlooked, can significantly impact a company’s transportation costs which ultimately impacts pricing, one of the most important decisions a business owner has to make.  Inefficient order fulfillment can also be costly.

UCT Ops Mgr, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

UCanTrade’s Operations Manager, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

JR White, director, solutions engineering at KNAPP explains, “With the ecommerce orders … items can’t just be dumped into a shipping carton willy-nilly. There is a logical order to the packing that prevents damage and ensures the order arrives neatly presented to the customer. In other words, the shoes are not on top of the shirts.  That’s the first thing the customer sees and if you screw that up they’re not going to like it. They’re going to complain about it online and then ten other people aren’t going to shop here—all because of one missed order.” Accurate, considerate order fulfillment dramatically impact a company’s sales and market sustainability.

Through an ‘export lens’, trade experts and government organizations can provide invaluable assistance to help you outline your ‘best, most effective’ plan, to both optimize for your customer’s needs while simultaneously optimizing your business goals and returns on investments.

Interested in doing business in the United States?  Learn more at our upcoming seminar, October 19, 2016 in Richmond, B.C. Canada.  (Click HERE for more information.)

(Related: Six Eyes On Every BoxHow Much Should I Charge My U.S. Customers? )

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source article)

Doing Business in the USA Seminar

Doing Business in the USA Seminar

Understand Your Options, Determine Your Structure, Expand Your Sales

DBUSA 2016

Event type: In-class seminar
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Place: SHERATON VANCOUVER AIRPORT HOTEL 7551 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC V6X 1A3 Canada
Fee: $75.00 CAD plus GST (per attendee)
Register Online
Register Offline

Join us on October 19th for a fast-paced guide to expanding your sales into the United States. Whether opening a store front with a U.S. address or partnering with a distribution centre for your eCommerce activity, our seasoned cross-border lawyers, accountants, customs brokers and logistics professionals will present options that will help you determine your export strategy and understand your responsibilities with government agencies such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration.

Small and medium sized businesses in the export development planning stage who attend this event will:

Determine:

  • Optimal structure for U.S. presence
  • Cost-effective distribution channels
  • Responsibility for federal and state tax
  • What is considered “working” in the U.S.
Understand:

  • U.S. consumer purchasing behavior
  • Canadian export requirements
  • U.S. import compliance
  • Available resources

 

How Much Should I Charge My U.S. Customers?

By:  Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

Most Canadian companies preparing to launch into the lucrative U.S. market are unsure how to price their offerings. In a recent issue of his free e-newsletter, “Verne’s Insights”, Verne Harnish recommended a book by Dr. Hermann Simon of Simon-Kucher & Partners, entitled “Confessions of The Pricing Man – How Price Affects Everything”. Pricing is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in business and one that is at best an educated guess at most organizations. One of the books key assertions is that price is the most effective profit driver. Manage for Profit, not for Market Share.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Export By Way of the U.S.A.

Recognized as the world’s largest economy, the United States of America offers Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs the perfect springboard from which to launch their international business further abroad.

Given the similarities between the Canadian and American cultures and their geographical proximity, selling to the U.S. first simply makes sense, says Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.  As well, he adds, quick-to-buy Americans perceive Canadian products to be ‘a cut above the rest’ and as such are willing to pay more.  Combine that with favorable exchange rates and U.S. sales become more profitable than domestic Canadian sales. (Related article: “Selling to Americans”)

In a recent interview with Export Development Canada (EDC), Halifax’s LED Roadway Lighting CEO, Peter Conlon said, “to be a legitimate exporter you have to have business in the U.S.” “If you’re not in the world’s leading market”, adds Conlon, “you’re not really a contender.”

After establishing their U.S. presence, the EDC reported that ‘opportunities came up’ for LED Roadway Lighting in places ‘seeking out clean energy’ listing countries in Europe, the UK, India, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade

Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Don’t Miss Out – Q4 US Federal Contract Spend (7/14 Webinar)

Hosted by Judy Bradt, CEO of Summit Insight, with special guest Bill Jaffe, SVP TAPE, this 7/14/16 webinar, ‘Next 5 Tactics for Federal Q4’, shares successful methods (Canadian) businesses can use to secure US federal contracts.

According to Bradt, “over 25% of federal contract spend happens between mid-August and September 30th.” Earn more on your US sales by learning the strategies now to sell your goods and services to the US government.  Registration information HERE. (Note: all registrants get the recordings.)

(Related Article: Use It or Lose It – How Fiscal Year End Buying Could Change Your Business)

FREE USA Market Research Info (Published by: Jim Pettinger, President UCanTrade, Inc.)

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.
UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Subscribe HERE to receive our TradeTips Newsletter – Cross-Border News & Upcoming Events in the Pacific Corridor

Selling to big retailers? Beware of charge-backs.

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

In recent years, most “big box” retailers have followed Walmart’s lead by introducing “Vendor Compliance” programs. While understandable due to the huge volume of goods being received, the practice has also come under criticism for becoming a “revenue stream” rather than a reasonable business practice. Typical reasons for “fines” of $250 or more can include: early/late delivery, ASN/EDI violations, improper labels, purchase order violations, pricing errors, overages/shortages, broken pallets and damaged cartons.

Our advice to Canadians entering the US market has always been, “build your distribution channel from the bottom up”. There are thousands of local and regional retailers with whom you can build a “win-win” personal relationship while learning the ropes. And when you do venture into deeper water, make sure you negotiate profitable pricing and work with a third-party logistics company that can help you minimize delivery issues.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade